Do You Have Polycythemia Vera?

While it’s never pleasant to think you may have a serious disease it’s important that you find out early on. Some diseases are so subtle and asymptomatic you need tests to discover them. Polycythemia vera is considered a rare disease with about 2 in every 100,000 people having the disease. It usually develops slowly, and you might have it for years without knowing. Often the condition is found during a blood test done for another reason. Do you have Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia Vera

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Getting Back on Track

In early December I noticed I wasn’t feeling at all  like myself. I was ignoring chores and, worse, ignoring friends and even some family members. Nothing seemed to interest me and I felt just awful physically. Normally I’m so cheerful I have wondered if there was something wrong with me! I should have recognized the symptoms but, since I was already off-kilter, I didn’t. But I finally figured it out and I’ve started on the chores I’ve neglected for so long! Yesterday I spent part of the day cleaning my desk and computer desk. I’m finally getting back on track!

Getting Back on Track

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15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

While some parts of the country are going to get a slightly milder winter some of us will experience extremely cold temperatures. When Mr. C was undergoing his chemo and radiation our furnace broke down. It was terrifying! The actual temperature was -15 degrees and he was truly in danger. If you have elderly people living with you, someone who is ill, or children you need to learn these 15 ways to protect yourself & your family from extreme cold!

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

We depend on our furnaces to keep us nice and warm all winter but if that heat source isn’t working we are at risk of hypothermia and even frostbite. But even if your furnace is working there are things you can do to help keep your family warmer in extremely cold weather.

Before extremely cold weather arrives talk to the electric or gas company about getting on a Shut Off Protection Plan. This kind of program prevents heat from being turned off if you have elderly, disabled, or chronically ill members of your household.

Have your furnace inspected so that any serious problems can be fixed before the really cold temperatures arrive.

Draw your curtains at dusk (or in bitterly cold weather keep curtains closed all day and night). If your curtains aren’t a heavy material you can hang blankets or even large towels over them to help keep out the cold.

Use weather-stripping to seal doors and windows. Drafts can lower temperatures indoors significantly. If you can’t install weather-stripping and drafts are a problem use a rolled up towel to stop drafts.

If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that has been inspected and is safe to use you may find the supplemental heat is required. But be smart. Never leave a fireplace burning when you go to bed.

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

Portable heaters meant for indoor use can also help keep your family warm. Be sure to keep them at least 3 feet away from curtains, bedding, etc. and keep small children away from heaters.

Wear several light layers of warm clothing. You can add and subtract clothing to stay comfortable.

Try to maintain a temperature of at least 65 degrees if anyone in your home is disabled, over 65 years, ill, or if you have small children.

15 Ways to Protect Yourself & Your Family from Extreme Cold

Drink hot drinks regularly during the day and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. This will help you keep your energy up.

Try to stay active even indoors. Do light exercises (but don’t make yourself sweat). Housework is another good way to stay active. If you have kids stuck at home play moderately active games with them.

People with heart or respiratory problems are at increased risk of worsening symptoms during very cold weather. Keep a close eye on anyone with these issues. Keep in mind that symptoms may be affected for several days up to a month after temperatures return to normal after an extremely cold snap.

If you know of a relative or neighbor with health problems or who is elderly try to check in on them during bitterly cold weather.

Learn how to recognize hypothermia and frostbite and what you should do if someone is suffering from these dangerous conditions

And don’t forget your pets! Fur coats or not your pets are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite just like you! Don’t leave pets outside in very cold weather. If possible have your pet wear a sweater and boots to go outside and bring them in when they are done with their business.

By taking some simple precautions you can help protect yourself & your family from extreme cold this winter.

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How to Avoid Common Winter Injuries

The snowstorm we just experienced, that went into the wee hours of this morning left us with about 12 inches of snow. That was bad enough but the county came through and did their favorite chore; piling up a huge amount of snow that blocks each driveway. Knowing that we were going to have to get out there and try to clear both the driveway and the county created mountain of snow reminded me how easy it is to hurt oneself in winter.

How to Avoid Common Winter Injuries

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Common Health Problems for Older People

None of us love to admit that we’re getting older. Our youth obsessed society seems to want to shove seniors out on an ice floe never to be seen again. But there are amazing benefits to getting older. You have time to do the things you love. You get to have grandchildren who think you’re the best thing since ice cream. You can be unapologetically cranky. We get away with things when we’re older because young people think we just can’t help ourselves.

But along with the freedom that growing older brings there are downsides. Among them are the common health problems for older people.

Common-Health-Problems1

 

  1. Arthritis – The deputy director of the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, Marie Bernard, MD states “Arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with.” The condition affects nearly 50% of adults over 65. It leads to pain and can lower the quality of life for many seniors. Work with your doctor to develop your personal activity plan that, along with other treatments, can help you remain active and feel better.
  1. Heart Disease – Heart disease remains the leading killer of people over 65 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 37% of men and 26% of women 65 and older suffer heart disease as a chronic condition. Increased age means increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol that increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease. “Exercise, eat well, get a good night’s rest. Eating well means eating in a fashion that will allow you to keep a healthy weight with a well-balanced and healthy diet,” says Dr. Bernard. You’ll improve not only your risk of heart disease but your overall health.
  1. Cancer – According to the CDC, 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women over age 65 are living with cancer. It is the second leading cause of death for people over 65. Screenings like mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks can help catch cancer early while it is treatable. If you do get cancer work with your medical team and maintain healthy living practices, even during treatment.
  1. Respiratory Diseases – COPD and other chronic lower respiratory disease are the third most common cause of death for older folks. Approximately 127,000 people die from these diseases yearly. 10% of men and 13% of women (approximately) are living with asthma. According to the CDC an additional 10% of men and 11% of women have chronic bronchitis or emphysema. Having a chronic respiratory disease increases your health risks for diseases like pneumonia there are steps you can take to preserve your health and quality of life. Get lung function tests and take the medications your doctor prescribes and use oxygen if instructed.
  1. Alzheimer’s Disease – The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in nine people age 65 and older live with this disease. That’s about 11% of seniors. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s is challenging so it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are living with this disease. And the cognitive impairment significantly impacts senior health care from safety and self-care issues to the cost of care in home or in a residential facility.
  1. Osteoporosis – The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 54 million Americans over the age 50 are affected by low bone mass or osteoporosis. This puts those people at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to poor putting them at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to a lower quality of life and increase other health risks.
  1. Diabetes – This disease is a significant health risk for people over 65. About 24% of men and 18% of women over 65 are living with the disease. With simple blood test for blood sugar levels the disease can be identified and treated early. Lifestyle changes can help control diabetes and improve your long term health prospects.
  1. Influenza and Pneumonia – These are not chronic conditions but they are among the top seven causes of death in people over 65. They fall just behind diabetes. Because seniors are more vulnerable and less able to fight them off it’s recommended that seniors get an annual flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine if your doctor recommends it.
  1. Falls – As we age the risk for falls requiring emergency room treatment increases. And one-third of people who are treated in the emergency room for a fall will be back there in a year. Most falls happen in your own home so be aware of the hazards; slippery floors, bathtubs, and area rugs are common causes of falls.
  1. Substance Abuse – The National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions data suggests that one in five people over 65 have an alcohol or substance abuse problem at some point. The most common nonmedical substances abused by seniors are alcohol and tobacco. Possible interactions with prescription medications
  1. Obesity – Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are all chronic conditions that affect quality of life and can cause death. Obesity is a health risk for developing any one of these diseases. And obesity causes people to be less active, increasing the risk for other conditions such as osteoporosis. In adults between the ages of 65 and 74 almost 75% are overweight.
  1. Depression – Depression can lower immunity and compromise the ability to fight infections. Increasing physical activity can improve mood and social interactions are very important to fighting depression. Seniors, on average, report spending only 8 to 11% of their free time with family and friends. Medications and therapy can also be helpful in overcoming depression.
  1. Oral Health – As you age your mouth becomes dryer and cavities are more difficult to avoid. According to the CDC 25% of people over 65 have no natural teeth. Healthy teeth and gums are important for your overall health. Regular checkups and proper oral health care is imperative for older people.
  1. Poverty – Older women are slightly more likely to live in poverty than men. In 2013, half of all people on Medicare had incomes less than $23,500, which is equivalent to 200 percent of poverty in 2015 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This means seniors are foregoing doctor visits, medications, and other essential health care.
  1. Shingles – The National Institutes of Health says that 50% of all Americans will experience shingles before they are 80 years old. One out of every three people over 60 will get it. This incredibly painful condition usually affects only one side of your body. It starts with tingling or severe pain then develops into an itchy rash and may blister. There is a shingles vaccine available so talk to your doctor.

 

Taking care of your health is important at every stage of life but, as you age, it is even more important to know the risk factors and take steps to prevent disease. You can live a long, healthy life if you take care of yourself.

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